2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Week 15 Buy/Sell
Welcome to the Week 15 Buy/Sell report everyone. With all 30 NBA teams having played anywhere between 48-52 games, the 2014-15 season is closing in on the homestretch with about 40 percent of the season remaining. With less than a week remaining until the All-Star break, owners should take advantage of the six-day layoff from Feb. 13-18. Assessing your team(s) and determining which players should be kept or traded in order to improve in other categories you have a realistic chance of doing so should be a priority if you’re serious about winning. If you happen to be in a roto league with a cap on games played, planning on how to manage your games played the rest of the season is crucial if you want to maximize your statistics and avoid running out early while your competition passes you in the standings. With that being said, it’s time to evaluate some buy-low and sell-high targets.
As a quick aside, you can follow me on Twitter right here.
Dirk Nowitzki (35) – 18.2 PTS-5.9 REB-2.0 AST-1.3 3PM-0.5 ST-46.3% FG-89.3% FT
Nowitzki owners certainly can’t be too enthused about the six-game slump the 36-year-old German is currently mired in but owners shouldn’t be fretting too much considering his pedigree. Let’s start off with the bad news first though. Nowitzki hasn’t cleared 20+ points in his last six games and is only averaging 13.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.2 3PM on a lousy 39.4% shooting from the field. To add insult to injury for owners frustrated over his lackluster play of late, he was rested in the Mavericks second game of a back-to-back against the Kings on Thursday. During the last two weeks, the 7-footer has only been providing 12th-round value for 9-cat owners as he’s the 136th-ranked player over that time. Ouch. All one must do is check out his shot chart over the past six games compared to his shot chart overall to see why he’s struggling.
Dirk is one of the premier shooters in the game and he especially excels at the mid-range game as he’s burying them at a 48.7% clip so far this season. As you can see in the shotchart on the left, he’s struggled with his mid-range shot of late but based on how green the court is in those areas in the shotchart on the right, owners should simply brush this off as a mini-slump.
While Nowitzki is having a nice season, his averages in points (-3.5), rebounds (-0.3), assists (-0.7), steals (-0.4), 3PM (-0.3), and FG% (-3.4) are all down from a year ago when he finished as a first-round value. While the additions of Chandler Parsons and Rajon Rondo has certainly affected his output in some areas, he just hasn’t been as efficient as usual so far this year. One reason could be the stomach problems he was dealing with from late December to early January which he has recently recovered from. Even with all the aforementioned issues in play, Nowitzki is still providing third-round value for the year and was a second-round value for much of the year before his recent slump. His 26.2% usage rate this year is just slightly down from the 28.6% mark he posted a year ago so owners shouldn’t be worried about a lack of opportunity. You likely won’t be able to acquire Dirk at a lower cost the rest of the season as this is rock bottom and he still has room to improve in a number of areas (PTS-FG%-3PM) so this would be a prime time to send out some buy-low offers for one of the most consistent and efficient players the NBA has ever seen.
Gorgui Dieng (45) – 9.9 PTS-8.6 REB-2.2 AST-0.9 ST-1.7 BLK-49.9% FG-79.8% FT
It hasn’t been pretty in the four games since Dieng has been relegated to coming off the bench, but owners are advised to hang tight due to the likelihood starter Nikola Pekovic will be forced to miss upcoming games with ankle soreness. Pekovic said his ankle is still bothersome after games and Flip Saunders is debating whether or not to sit him in the second game of back-to-backs going forward. It’s only a matter of time before Pek misses games and when this scenario comes about, Dieng will return to a starting role where he’s been much more effective.
|Starter (38 G)||32:19||10.5||9.2||2.6||1.1||1.9||49.1||79.0|
|Reserve (12 G)||20:10||7.9||6.8||0.9||0.4||1.2||53.0||
As you can see, he’s been much more productive as a starter and the 12 minute per-game difference in minutes played is obviously a huge reason why. In his last four games off the bench, Dieng has only averaged 22 minutes of playing time and his production has predictably tailed off during that stretch as he’s only averaged 7.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.5 blocks. As a result, the 25-year-old from Louisville is only the 151st-ranked player over the last week. With Pekovic extremely likely to miss games in the near future, now is an excellent time to send out buy-low offers to Dieng owners who are displeased over his recent play. He’s been a top-50 asset this year and while Pekovic limits his upside when he’s on the court, his next injury is always right around the corner. Buy-low while you still can.
Robin Lopez (89) – 9.7 PTS-7.4 REB-1.1 AST-0.4 ST-1.6 BLK-50.7% FG-76.5% FT
Lopez returned on Tuesday from a seven-week absence due to a broken hand and he has seemingly not missed a beat in his two games back on the hardwood. Against the Jazz, RoLo put up 11 points, six rebounds, and two blocks in 25 minutes while he racked up 11 points, 12 rebounds, and four blocks in 31 minutes against the Suns on Thursday. The 12 rebounds were a season-high for the 26-year-old Stanford alum. About the only negative you can point to in his two-game sample is the fact he’s only 2-of-5 from the free throw line.
Lopez has a well-rounded game with his lack of steals being his only real weakness, but owners can overlook that considering his across-the-board production in all the other categories. While he doesn’t wow you in any particular area, he’s an unheralded nightly double-double threat who supplies solid percentages with an ample amount of blocks. Finding centers who can hit free throws at a decent clip is easier said than done and one could stand to reason he has some room to improve in this area after he hit at a career-high clip of 81.8% from the charity stripe last season. RoLo is also a career 52.9% shooter from the field so his efficiency should rise back to career norms in due time. He may not be flashy, but Lopez possesses top-75 upside and owners looking for a reliable center should look no further as he likely won’t cost you premium assets. Just don’t remind him of the brilliant nutmeg Goran Dragic executed on him in his last game, he may just take it out on your favorite mascots.
Kevin Martin (49) – 19.9 PTS-3.8 REB-2.1 AST-2.5 3PM-0.8 ST-44% FG-86.3% FT
Martin returned from a 10-week absence on Jan. 28 against the Celtics and has picked up right where he left off in the six games he’s played since returning. K-Mart actually had 37 points in the game he broke his wrist on Nov. 19 against the Knicks which is just unfathomable and he’s been rolling like he hasn’t missed any time at all. Over his last six games, Martin is averaging 19 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.8 3-pointers, and 1.0 steals on 39 percent shooting. He’s averaging a healthy 17.5 field goal attempts and 35.5 minutes of playing time over that stretch while also owning a 28.2% usage rate. Simply put, when Martin is on the hardwood he’s going to be getting buckets in bunches as he’s always been a prolific scorer. Problem is, the 32-year-old has had a difficult time staying healthy throughout his career.
In fact, Martin has only played in 634 of a possible 854 games, meaning he’s missed roughly 26 percent of his career due to injuries. He’s certainly “earned” his injury-prone label and it’s really the only thing that could hold him back from supplying early-round value in his current situation. The Western Carolina product will continue to be a great source of points, 3-pointers, and free throw percentage who can also contribute in other areas but selling high seems like the logical move to make if you can find someone willing to overpay for him considering his propensity for getting injured.
Zach Randolph (53) – 16.9 PTS-12.0 REB-1.7 AST-0.9 ST-0.2 BLK-50% FG-75.1% FT
The artist better known as Z-Bo has been straight up dominating offensively and on the boards against his unfortunate opponents. Randolph has double-digit rebounds in 20 of his last 21 games and recently had a stretch from Jan.9-Jan. 31 where he racked up 12 consecutive double-doubles. The new year has seemingly transformed Randolph to prime Z-Bo as he’s been sensational since his return from a sore right knee on Jan. 9. In 15 games so far in 2015, Randolph is averaging 18.3 points, 13.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists on high-volume 53 percent shooting from the field. Over the last month he is ranked 45th in 9-cat formats and this has nearly vaulted him to top-50 value overall for the year. While he deserves praise for his remarkable play of late, this is likely the apex of his fantasy value and owners should be looking to sell high.
First of all, there’s always a chance his knee injury could flare up later down the road considering the bruising brand of basketball he plays. Secondly, his 50 percent mark from the field would be the first time since 2010-11 that he’s achieved the feat and would be only the third time in his illustrious 14-year career if the mark held up. In other words, it’s unlikely his efficiency remains so high as he’s never even cleared 46.7% shooting over the last three years. He wasn’t very efficient with mid-range shots last year (41.2%) and is only hitting at a 39.6% clip this year so owners have to hope he continues to keep his mid-range attempts down. Additionally, his 12.0 rebounds would be his best mark since 2010-11 as well and will likely regress in this area a bit as well. His lack of defensive stats are the biggest reason why his fantasy value is capped. He provides virtually nothing in terms of blocks for a PF/C and this is hard to live with unless you have a lot of other players who are capable of blocking an abundance of shots. That’s why he’s just inside the top-50 over the last month even though he’s been going off basically every night.
The 33-year-old out of Michigan State is still a fine fantasy player to own for owners in need of points, rebounds, and solid percentages out of a big, but owners should take advantage of his recent unsustainable play to try to cash in on someone who possesses more upside.
Thanks for reading and thanks to Yahoo, ESPN, and NBA.com/stats for providing the statistical information. Be sure to comment below if you have any questions or comments. You can follow me on Twitter @MattMoczy and I’m more than willing to answer any questions you may have.